Don’t mess with Texas: guns in school

October 13, 2008 — by Shannon Galvin and Saniha Shankar

The days of teachers holding rulers and sending students to a corner with a dunce cap have long passed. Some teachers at a 110-student school in Harrold, Texas, have upgraded to a rather unusual technique: carrying guns. The idea sounds crazy at first but has some merit at a school like this.

Located in North Texas, Harrold is an impoverished hamlet with a population of 320. Residents can barely remember the last time any violent act occurred. Many never lock their doors. The nearest sheriff’s office is 17 miles away.

Beginning this school year, the local school board passed a resolution that allowed several teachers with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun during school hours, citing events such as the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.

Despite measures such as cameras and upgraded emergency systems, the Harrold school board fears school officials would still be handicapped in the event of an armed assault. The new policy enacted by the board has sparked serious debate, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry has backed the decision.

Although putting handguns on campus may seem like a recipe for disaster, Harrold has few alternatives, especially since security guards are too expensive and local law enforcement too far away.

Faculty members chosen to carry firearms go under extensive psychological scrutiny as well as crisis management courses to prepare them for the use of a firearm in emergency situations. The teachers still need all the required permits and background checks expected of regular citizens as well as a Concealed Carry license, which in itself mandates weapon safety and liability education.

Some say, though, the plan simply opens up more problems to deal with and that keeping guns at a school to prevent shootings would just be fighting fire with fire.

Anti-gun organizations have not taken any action, however, despite supposed anxiety over this new resolution. Other than whining blogs giving few alternative options, the organizations have not done anything to push their causes in Harrold.

Rather than posting useless options like hiring expensive armed officers or sneering at Texas laws allowing for such an act to be passed, any organization truly devoted to their cause would have immediately started protesting and lobbying against them. Lack of action is tantamount to agreement to the Harrold solution.

In the end, no such action has been taken, and the school year has started in Harrold smoothly and safely, with parents noting to reporters of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that they trust their childrens’ lives with their teachers.

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